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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 8 Hansard (25 October) . . Page.. 2000 ..

MR OSBORNE (12.00): I suppose, Mr Speaker, that there comes a time when some tough decisions need to be made. It is sad when a school is faced with closure or an amalgamation, especially coming from a government that spoke long and hard before the election about being open and consultative. I have this feeling that perhaps they have not been altogether open and consultative on this issue. I do remember, Mr Speaker, your good self, in response to my raising these very issues prior to the election, standing up outside this - - -

Mr Moore: When he sat on a bulldozer outside Red Hill.

MR OSBORNE: I sat on a bulldozer outside Red Hill and you sat outside this very building and said, "The Liberal Party will not close schools". There seems to be more than one way to skin a school, Mr Speaker.

I suppose that we need to decide the best option here. We have two schools. One, Charnwood High, with a capacity for 700 students, has an enrolment this year, I believe, of 230, and, as we have heard from the majority of speakers here, the outlook is not good. We also have Ginninderra High, which has a capacity for 1,000 students but has only 400. When you add them up - I can just do that, but I might get some of the students here to help me - I think it is 630. When I went to school - it was a long time ago - that was still less than 1,000.

I have always advocated that resources in schools should be put where they are needed, and, if they are not being utilised as well as they should be, we have to make some tough decisions. I suppose that I am a little bit disappointed and a little bit stunned that nothing was done to help Charnwood High over the last couple of years. My understanding is that it is not a problem that appeared suddenly overnight. Mr Harry Kraft, the chairman of the Charnwood High School Board, was quoted in the Canberra Times of 14 October. Mr Kraft said a lot of things. The Canberra Times report says:

Kraft is critical of the way the Government and DET have handled the issue at Charnwood High, saying they "left things too late".

Whose fault is that, Mr Speaker? I am not going to point the finger, but it has become very obvious to me that Charnwood High has had a problem.

I have to say, Mr Speaker, that I do find it quite funny that Ms Horodny stood up and was so passionate about Charnwood High. Only this morning Mr Kraft rang my office and claimed that when he spoke with the Greens they did not know anything about the problem at Charnwood High. I believe, Mr Speaker, that it is in Ms Horodny's electorate. It is a good 25 to 30 minutes from my place as a voter. As a matter of fact, I even live in my electorate.

In the end, Mr Speaker, I suppose that we have to make a decision as to what is best, and I, for one, am not prepared to amend the budget. I believe that the budget is the Government's role. There are some things I would like the Government to guarantee to me before I support them on this. I am aware that Charnwood is not a wealthy suburb and that a lot of the families that use this school will suffer. If the Government can

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